Monday, June 17, 2013

Huawei, ZTE see vindication amid US cyber-spying scandal


Huawei, ZTE see vindication amid US cyber-spying scandal


US lawmakers say Huawei poses a threat to national security.


Revelations made by whistle-blower Edward Snowden about internet

surveillance in the United States may have provided an "I told you so"

moment for China's telecommunications equipment makers.


A senior spokesman for Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies, the mainland's

biggest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, pointed out that not one

company in its industry was among the high-technology companies alleged by

Snowden to be co-operating with the US government's Prism surveillance

programme and other online snooping activities.


"Why? Because equipment vendors build the 'pipes' that form the network, but

they do not manage the information that flows through the network or that is

stored in data reservoirs, like internet company servers," William Plummer,

a vice-president of external affairs at Huawei and its point man in

Washington, told the South China Morning Post.


On the alleged systematic compromise of online user data with firms like

Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo, Plummer said: "It didn't matter which

combination of [telecommunications equipment] vendors built the pipes and

plumbing of the networks over which the data extracted had flowed. It would

have made no difference in terms of the security of the data."


He added that this development "would seem to suggest that some of the

cyber-security solutions that have been proposed in the US, such as blocking

equipment from China-headquartered telecommunications gear vendors, are as

much about politics and protectionism as anything else".


Both Huawei and ZTE, the world's second and fifth-biggest telecommunications

equipment suppliers, are the target of scrutiny in the US, where lawmakers

have branded their network infrastructure products as posing a threat to

national security.


Following an 11-month investigation, the bipartisan Intelligence Committee

of the House of Representatives released a 52-page report in October last

year which recommended Huawei and ZTE be barred from acquiring US assets and

from supplying any equipment to telecommunications network projects there

for fear of possible spying and cyberattacks by China.


Huawei and ZTE rejected those findings, which singled them out even though

every major telecommunications infrastructure provider has a substantial

manufacturing supply chain in China.


In April, the US Government Accountability Office released a new report that

found no recent evidence of cyber-security incidents affecting the country's

telecommunications networks - a finding that directly refutes the stand

taken by the lawmakers in the October study.



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